Singaporean In Kuala Lumpur

Frequently Asked Questions

What bring you here in M'sia? Your husband is a M'sian?
Weíre both Singaporean.We got uprooted from our beloved homeland when the company moves from Singapore to Malaysia. So I followed along, thought in Malaysia I might want to work as a Nurse here then I change my mind.

So, how long have you stayed in M'sia? Since you no longer working, don't you get bored doing nothing beside the NGO's foundation?

Iíve been in Malaysia, KL for almost 10 yrs now. When we go back to Singapore for our monthly visits, we become "the KL people now"

That is the reason I started with the NGO's, better than to stay at home hanging out at the poolside sunbathing or going for one coffee morning to that got me bored to death. To me Iím still working, the only difference is that I'm not paid. So it comes to commitment and dedication. Iíve been doing this since back home in Singapore. So itís just a practical thing to do. Being in the nursing profession I can actually work. I got approval from the Malaysia Nursing Board but I just donít want to go back in the hospital. Iíve been there since 18yrs old and I know what its like is. Once you have a family, I guess all your priorities change.

Well I do hold the portfolio of the Finance Minister besides the Home Ministry and He is the treasury. He brings in the money. I spend it out thus maintaining the balance, as you cannot only bring in all the time. You need to spend to expand the economy yes creating more jobs opportunity and encouraging more investment from foreigners.

Tell me the difference between M'sia/S'pore? Which country is better?

In my opinon both countries is good in their own way. When I first came to KL I donít like it. The roads are not user friendly. I do not have friends here. I canít even get my favorite channel: The BBC. But after a while I learn to adjust myself here. KL has taught us how to slow down and the virtues of patience.

I have many Malaysian friends now because I move out from my expat Community group to the locals. We send our daughter to the local kindergarten because I want her to mix with the locals. I see not much difference bet the Singapore and Malaysia people. The composition is different but we do share a common bond being Asian etc. Put aside our confusing political issues. I never pay much attention to them actually but yes I love being in Malaysia and I love my country too. Restricted yes but you can see change is taking place.......... slow but it is happening especially with the increase migration from India and other. Yeah the parliament can pass what ever law they feel like it but weather the Singaporean actually follow them...... now that is another matter. What we do just to defy them especially if we find the law is ridiculous. Laws are another form of Social Engenieering. Instead of trying to educate the people, they use law to control. And since they choose not to listen to the voice of the people, we just ignore them. Itís our favorite pass time. Like me I just go into civil disobedience. As long as you donít get caught red handed by them.

I bet you spend a lot of time shopping around. Which place is your favourite shopping area?
To the contrary I donít spend unnecessarily. Itís my husband who likes to spend. I am the one who only spend when I see the need to. You see we have this policy...... we believe in returning back to Society. We do not believe that we should take and take all the time... we must return back. So every month 1% of my husband salary goes to what I call "Charity fund"... I use this fund to finance the various charitable org esp. children home....instead of just giving them the money.....I rather buy the things they need like groceries, school books, shoes etc... You know stuff the children will need... and send to them. We have been blessed in Malaysia. Life has been good and we have many nice friends... so this is our way of returning back to our adopted country now.

I usually go to the local wet market for my marketing. I hardly go to Bukit Bintang or the MidValley or popular shopping mall patronised by the Singaporean.

KL pace has slow you down!? I think S'pore is, not KL. I mean when I drive in KL, you will get a honk the second the lights turn green, not in S'pore. In S'pore we have to slow down for pedestrian, we have to slow down when the light turn yellow, where as way, they will blast the horn from a distance and beat the lights.Road wise, S'pore infra is 10 times better than M'sia, no doubt about it. Everything is well plan, that is only thing I like about S'pore, no traffic jams. Kl taught you the virtue of Patience!!??.."

When I talk about KL teaching me the virtues of Patience... well you know in Singapore we are use to this fast lane. That is where I'm coming from. Everything is fast...... we are always in the rush... When we call the repair man, we are use to have them come running to our door step within mins after the call made.......yes? But you donít see this working culture in Malaysia. Initially it was very difficult for us particularly me......I learn that no point in screaming over the phone...if they come they come if not its either you wait or you search for another one.... and then the cycle begins again...You began to learn..... You need to have the patience... why is it that you must have it NOW! or why must these things be done NOW! You see the point Iím trying to make it. There's the advantage and disadvantage. What I'm seeing is that... thereís a different in the working culture. Malaysia particularly KL is big as compared to Singapore. There are the limitations too and we need to accommodate ourselves to these changes...

Oh! You're a Singaporean. Should not have any problem right?

There is adjustment, before whenever I travel up to Penang or anywhere up north, KL will be my stop over. Deposit my bag then roam about the town, 10pm back to Pudu to grab the last bas back to Singapore. This itís different now. Iím going to stay here. So itís definitely an adjustment for me.

But what kind of adjustment there is for you?

I am not as mobile as I am back home. Where I stayed, the only mode of transport that goes there is either the car or the taxi. Everybody know how Malaysian Taxis are. It terrified me. I am practically at their mercy. This feeling of helpless drives me up the wall. So I have no choice but to learn how to drive. We've read about KL taxi's are. I have my own share of stories about KL taxi.

I see that you're helping in a Christian Home. Are you a Christian?

My question : must one be a Christian to help up in a Christian Home? Iíve never been to any children home particularly home specifically for the neglect and abuse. Four months after I came to KL : April 1998, I have the strong urge to do something. I've always been active back home with Free Health Screening, helping up at the Student Care Center, so when I came to KL, its the logical thing to do. ? I saw an advertisement in the paper looking for volunteers. So I went the very next day via a taxi. The home is somewhere along the Old Klang Road but within P.J area. I have never ventured out to that area before. In fact I have not ventured to any part of K.L except the Bukit Bintang area [ the main shopping district] The roads here in Malaysia particularly in KL is rather odd. They are never in order. When you drive, you see section 12, 13, 14 and suddenly section 18. What happen to section 15, 16? They are some where in the distant. You can never rely on the map either. You see the road today in the map, a month or two later, the road is not there. Luckily the taxi driver knows the area well. The home is right inside of Taman Kanagapuram. You can walk in but will be a distance. No public bus goes in there. Only way in is either by car. I have no expectation but what got my attention is when I'm being greeted by several children. Their hands reaching out to me, holding me and leading me towards the Home Administration. I know at the instance I have found my starting point. You must have a point to start. So this Home in PJ is where it all began for me dosent matter if its a Christian home, to me its not important.

Politics :S'pore on the plus side...M'sian thumbs down....what do you think?

As for politics....I donít know... Iíve been following the local politics... and I thought I am glad I am here.......I am witnessing a very vibrant political environment... and if you compare that to Singapore, Malaysia politics is more interesting. I am glad to be here to witness the March 8 election........ I was out on the street when I saw the opposition was a beautiful experience.....

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